After a devastating, early life of hard drinking, I got sober 33 years ago. During those years, I attended thousands of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, where I have seen countless sufferers dramatically change their lives, and return to the human race. I have witnessed too many miracles to count. AA offers a wide array of tools for recovery, but in my opinion, at the center of everything, is the act of storytelling. Stories are told by speakers, sponsors, and in personal sharing by everyone at meetings. The sense of identification, of not being the only one with the problem, and of the fact that there is a solution, has an extraordinarily healing affect on the storyteller and listener alike.
My sincere hope is that my book will provide comfort, hope, and direction to anyone (and their loved ones) dealing with alcoholism and addiction. Blotto is not an “inside baseball” book. Certainly, people dealing with alcoholism and addiction will relate, but I have endeavored to write in a manner that will have a universal appeal to anyone who enjoys a compelling read about personal redemption.
Blotto is a rags-to-riches story. Yes, the author found stable work through overcoming his alcoholism. More profoundly, though, he became rich in spirit – and this shines through in Jeff Pohn’s frank account of his addiction.
The book starts at his lowest point: a pathetic man so broken he can’t get out of his paralysing situation. From early childhood, it then details his trajectory into his insidious disease. It can be hard for someone without this experience to imagine how alcoholism can compromise a person’s life, but Pohn makes it relatable.
Written in first person present tense and with an easy reading style, this story is impassively told. The author doesn’t shy away from his heinous behaviour while drinking. He then details the set-backs in his difficult recovery as clearly as his advances: Alcoholics Anonymous assisted his “slow-briety” greatly.
In some respects, this is a standard memoir of a child growing up, then moving into the wider world with adulthood. Pohn details family relationships, most of which start off complicated, and all of which end up estranged. His daily routines are commonplace, familiar to many.
It’s this familiarity which allows the reader to delve more deeply into the author’s dire circumstances – because it’s even more understandable that alcoholism could have been anyone’s outcome, but for a chance of circumstance here or there. Anyone who has suffered knock-backs, whether big or small, will see their reflection somewhere in this tale.
The book contains some spelling and punctuation errors which detract from the reading experience. At times the style is so laid back as to lack emotion behind the words. More diverse vocabulary would increase reader interest. The scene which orientated the book reappears halfway: repeated word for word, the impact of this pivotal event is reduced. Revisiting this incident with different phrasing would have been beneficial, adding to the gravity of this turning point in the author’s life by exploring it in more depth.
The book’s appealing cover is simple yet effective: to read the subtitle, the reader must turn the book almost upside down, unconsciously mirroring the life described within. The story ends with the author’s sobriety and stable life – and mind – that accompanies it. The reader is left with the feeling that Pohn has beaten his demons, and continues to win with every day he decides not to drink.
My first book features my journey through depression and into wellness. I’m working on my second book, with enough material for five such books featuring poems and art. I’ve scoped two prose books and a picture book. My ability to transcend these ideas into reality depends on time-watch this space!